GPS versus Non-GPS

A comparison of GPS vs non-GPS 406 MHz distress beacons

406 MHz distress beacons - with GPS 406 MHz distress beacons - Non GPS

Signal type

Digital

Digital

Coverage

The entire globe

The entire globe

Identification

406 beacons have a unique identification code which is part of its signal. 406 beacons have a unique identification code which is part of its signal.

When properly registered with the Rescue Coordination Centre, Australia, the unique code provides information about the boat or aircraft, or person carrying the beacon.

This includes the owner's emergency contact and the country of registration.

When properly registered with the Rescue Coordination Centre, Australia, the unique code provides information about the boat or aircraft, or person carrying the beacon.

This includes the owner's emergency contact and the country of registration.

Allows false alarms to be resolved with a radio or phone call. Allows false alarms to be resolved with a radio or phone call.

Alert time

The 406 signal may be received within seconds by Geostationary satellites. If detected by a polar orbiting satellite, detection time will be longer.

The extra information provided by a 406 will in most cases help authorities locate you faster.

The 406 signal may be received within seconds by Geostationary satellites. If detected by a polar orbiting satellite, detection time will be longer.

The extra information provided by a 406 will in most cases help authorities locate you faster.

Location

GPS- Has an accuracy locator of 120 Metres

Orbiting satellites will calculate the position if there is no GPS capability. These orbiting satellites take 90 minutes on average to receive the signal but it may take up to 5 hours depending on the conditions.

More information is needed to determine the real location. This usually means at least two satellite passes &/or independent intelligence is required to determine a location and this takes more time. Non GPS has an accuracy locator of 5km

Rescue time

If the 406 beacon is registered, it will enable rescuers to know more about who you are, where you are, what your boat/plane looks like, and your emergency contact.

This saves time, and therefore helps rescuers to act more quickly.

Rescuers must wait for confirmation of the beacon's position before sending a search & rescue team. This takes more time.

If the 406 beacon is registered, it will enable rescuers to know more about who you are, where you are, what your boat/plane looks like, and your emergency contact. This saves time, and therefore helps rescuers to act more quickly.

Signal Power

5 Watts

5 Watts

To mount a search & rescue may take some time. Keep in mind that a rescue aircraft or boat won’t appear immediately, it depends on where you are and the availability of aircraft or boats. Rescuers will act as swiftly as possible to come to your aid.